Fall Injury Prevention Guide: Raking, Wood Chopping and Pumpkins

Fall is a time for warm drinks, fireside chats and carving pumpkins, but like all physical activities, bad form can leave you prone to injury. Physical Therapists Samantha Hubley, Michael Scola and Jason Skeldon provide tips on how to properly do some of your favorite fall activities.

Raking leaves

  • Avoid excessive bending at your spine
  • Use your legs to shift weight as you go
  • Squat when necessary
  • Keep the rake close to you

Pumpkin lifting

  • Avoid bending at your spine
  • Bend at knees and hips to squat down
  • Keep your base of support wide
  • Keep the pumpkin close to your body

Pumpkin carving

  • Keep the pumpkin close to you
  • Avoid excessive reaching
  • Elevate the pumpkin closer to eye level to decrease stress on your neck
  • Take frequent breaks from looking down to avoid stress on your neck
  • Keep your base of support wide if standing while carving
  • Keep a neutral wrist position

Wood chopping

  • Wear proper eye protection, gloves and boots
  • Use a maul instead of an axe as it’s end-loaded and will do most of the work itself
  • Align yourself with the work
  • Avoid rotating by swinging the maul in a straight line
  • When stacking the wood make sure to bend at the knees, not the back
  • Protect yourself from repetitive stress injuries by adding rest to the routine

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